PROFILE OF CORONADO COMMUNITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
201 S. Peninsula • New Smyrna Beach FL 32169
UPDATED DECEMBER 2014
Coronado is identified as a church with thought-provoking sermons, inclusiveness and openness to people and ideas, and commitment to community service.
“Coronado Community Church” was founded 1904 in the island town of Coronado Beach by the former Methodist Episcopal Church. It remained a “cute little church on the beachside” until the 1980’s, when a modern physical plant was built. A 40 year process of purchasing land and expanding facilities created a campus which is used seven days a week from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM for day school, support groups, thrift store, youth, small groups, community ministry, dinners, and worship.
Average attendance was 265 in 1980, 1040 in 2000, and 550 +/- for the past four years. This reflects 20 years of rapid growth, followed by 10 years of decline, and a “soft landing” at the current levels. Lovett Weems’ “death tsunami” (not to mention three hurricanes!) hit our retired congregation hard in the first decade of the new century. Currently we are receiving many new members… young retirees and those who can telecommute from a beautiful small town with little industry… while losing many old members to assisted care facilities or death. A person attending during the past year would probably perceive Coronado as a growing church, based on the number of new people and activity in the congregation.
Coronado, like many Florida churches, experiences an increased winter attendance from the North Atlantic and Mid-West. We are somewhat unique, however, in also receiving regular summer visitors from the Southeast and weekend visitors from Orlando. (Average attendance 350 summer, 750 winter) In every season we expect large numbers of visitors, new and returning. While many are involved in the mission of the church, what happens in sermon and worship is disproportionately important in attracting and retaining these constituents. We have a reputation for inclusiveness, openness and graciousness in receiving people from a wide range of faith backgrounds. While more choose our traditional over our non-traditional services, all our services tend to informality, humor and honesty.
Coronado reflects the demographics of our 32169 zip code: median age late 50’s, household income $70.000, well-educated and white. We also draw from a broader region, especially Edgewater and Port Orange. We have a healthy youth group of 30-50 active weekly, but a relatively small group of elementary age children and adults in their 20’s to early 30’s. Coronado does have a Day School with 90+ children age 1 to pre-K. Demographic projections for the next five years predict little change in the population or make-up of the community.
Coronado is proud of its leadership in community affairs such as homelessness, race relations and ecumenical cooperation. We take the “community” in our name seriously, while being aware that we are based on an island that could insulate us from the poverty and diversity issues that are central to our calling as Christians. Mission outreach, both in our area and outside the United States, is part of who we are. Our youth and adults have for the past 15 years gone on 3 to 5 medical, dental, construction and fellowship missions a year to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, Mississippi, Sager-Brown UMCOR Center, and many other sites. We are active with Halifax Urban Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and many local action groups.
Physical facilities are well maintained by the Trustees, who with the Finance Committee and Endowment Committee have identified resources to replace roofs, a/c, and some of the aging buildings on our campus. The “new” sanctuary is now 27 years old, but well built, and the addition to it is 10 years old.
We still have some Indebtedness because we occasionally buy adjoining property. We have a mortgage of $240,000 with the Florida United Methodist Foundation, and simple interest loans from our Endowment of $800,000. Total debt service is approximately 6% of our budget. There are restricted funds of a few hundred thousand dollars from sale of the parsonage and rent of a parking lot to be used for capital maintenance and improvements.
Our budgeting process is to build the “needs” and “income” sides of the budget separately each spring following a February pledge campaign, reconcile the two, and adopt a balanced budget in May for a July 1 fiscal year. Most years we have been able to receive more than we spend. We have paid apportionments 100% every year. An important component of the revenue is CorMeth Boutique, a thrift store on campus that has come to be a means of outreach, community, friendship and support for people searching for connection in a town composed of newcomers.
We are well aware that a period of grief and adjustment will ensue as the pastor of 34 years departs. We have been preparing since 2010 for this with studies by SPRC and Church Council, by analysis of staff plans, by securing our financial and administrative processes, and by discussions with lay leadership and staff. We have a great asset in our Church Administrator, Nancy Watts-Vanderbunt, a skilled professional who understands and loves the church. We are pleased that our Minister for Congregational Care, Laura Berg (Deacon) is an experienced grief counselor who can provide continuity and ongoing care for the congregation through this time of transition.